Hunting dog criminals take revenge

2014-07-21 00:00

A PROMINENT KwaZulu-Natal dairy farmer shot illegal hunting dogs marauding on his property this month, in accordance with advice from police.

But, yesterday, Nigel Murray found that intruders had cut the achilles tendons on 15 of his cattle — apparently in vicious revenge for their dogs.

Four of the cattle had to be put down.

Ian Little, manager of threatened species for the Endangered Wildlife Trust, told The Witness the attack represented “a very worrying development”.

He said there was growing anxiety and debate among farmers. “They are asking, ‘What should we be doing? Should we be shooting the dogs and antagonising these criminals?’.

“We’ve seen retaliation from these groups, but it normally involved these guys setting fire to parts of the farm,” said Little. “But this was a direct attack; something we’ve never seen before. Let’s hope it doesn’t spread.”

Murray said: “I am not one of those who just hopes this problem will go away — I’m aggressive about it and I will continue to shoot dogs pursuing animals here. But the law appears to be against us.”

He said dog hunting parties had decimated the reedbuck population on his 300 ha farm and posed a direct threat to his livestock.

However, Murray said the SA CAN network, which acts as the incident management centre for dog hunting, had injected new energy into the fight against it.

“I must say I got good response from the SAPS yesterday,” he said.

Little said illegal dog hunting was definitely on the increase and had reached as far towards Durban as Hillcrest and Shongweni.

He said Boston and Newcastle were “definitely hotspots”.

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